Attending your First ever Condo Board AGM? Here are a Few Do’s and Don’ts to Live By
Monday Dec 31st, 2018
Toronto is becoming a hub of condos, with new condominium buildings springing up every now and then from some nook and crevice of the city. Most people choosing to purchase units in those buildings are first-time condo owners who are as yet oblivious to condominium procedures and governance. Even now, we see no shortage of first-time unit owners phoning us in, asking us what they should expect at the meeting or fretting over making a good impression by knowing what they should do, or steer clear of. If you have just received your building’s annual general meeting’s notice, here are a few guidelines to help you along:
- Attend the meeting. Since you have just made a massive investment in your condominium unit, we believe that you should extend your full cooperation towards the management of that investment’s value and do what you can to stay abreast of the issues that might affect it and work towards mitigating them.
- Your Toronto Condos team will send you a notice package prior to the meeting. Be sure to peruse it thoroughly to be prepared in advance. It generally highlights the corporation’s audited financial statements to reveal the net asset position of the corporation and measure the financial health of the company, and last year’s AGM’s minutes of the meeting as a flashback to what conspired at the last meeting, especially to help newbies catch up. It also encloses resumes of candidates vying for a spot on the board of directors, to help you make an informed voting choice even if you are new at the building.
- Ask as many questions as you want at the AGM, and even throw directed queries towards the auditor, such as about the financial health and viability of the corporation and inquire into the audited financial statements. Ask around for matters pertaining to general operations or business of the corporation. In addition, listen in to your neighbor’s questions and grievances and the management’s proposals to their problems.
- Pay close attention to the meeting chairperson. Regardless of who the meeting is chaired by, be it the corporation’s lawyer, the property manager, or the president of the board, the job of the chairperson is to ensure that the meeting proceeds in an orderly and fair manner and the order is maintained. Having sat through a plethora of AGMs, I have witnessed my fair share of unit owners who claim to get much out of meetings that are conducted in a respectful and polite manner and where everybody knows their roles and duties.
- Just because you are the new kid on the block doesn’t exclude you from running for the board. We say you make a go for it. Being a Being a Toronto Condos team member better helps you comprehend how your condo building is being run, and helps you see the decisions and the issues faced by your condo building. Winning is not the end game. Regardless of how many votes you get, simply your AGM speech at the meeting will give people an opportunity to get to know you and is a wonderful way to meet your new neighbors.
- It may come as a surprise when you see the same people who ran for the board at the last AGM unsuccessfully or people who are already on the board running for elections again, but it is a common occurrence. In any building, there is only a shallow pool of people interested in sitting in on the board, and the property manager pops the question of whether you are interested in running for the elections as soon as you settle in.
- Don’t turn your candidate speech into a hate speech, rife with your woes against the current board members or the property managers. Make sure you don’t attack neighbors or name people for being too loud or parking in your spot perhaps. A candidate speech helps to highlight your positive characteristics, not an axe that you use to grind people you have a problem with.
- Keep in mind that the “G” in AGM denotes general, so make sure that any issues you raise or questions you ask are not specific to your unit or you. Any matters raised at the AGM should pertain to the building as a whole. Keeping confidentiality concerns on the forefront, refrain from pursuing unit-specific issues. You are more likely to garner detailed answers from the property manager in a private discussion than in front of your neighbors during the meeting.
- AGM meetings have a way of running on and finishing later than expected. If you don’t get home by the scheduled hour, don’t blame the chairperson. A long meeting means that more people got an opportunity to glean information about the building, raise concerns or participate in meaningful discussions.